For all the influence and impact classic movies have on pop culture, there’s also one unfortunate aspect that needs to be acknowledged. It feels like for every great, acclaimed film that is released, there are dozens of lesser quality knock-offs of the movie.
For horror, this is definitely the case with Tobe Hooper’s cult-classic slasher “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974). And Teddy Grennan’s new indie horror flick “Ravage,” at drive-ins and on VOD, is no exception to the accusation. Not even bothering to be subtle about the distinct style-over-substance going on in the feature, “Ravage” has the bare minimum of plot, but what appears to at least be self-awareness with its flashy direction.
Like most cliché slasher movies, “Ravage” begins with an innocent young blonde, this one a nature photographer named Harper (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), who secretly sees something she shouldn’t have while on a photo assignment in a local forest. When she goes to the police to report what she believes was torture, she’s quickly kidnapped by the perpetrators and is now on her own to escape their clutches while deep in a barn in the middle of the wilderness.
Grennan’s new feature seems to have gone through some working titles since premiering on the film festival circuit last year. Some sources online still refer to it as “Swing Low,” but the producers apparently decided to go with “Ravage” as a last-minute retitling. The former title would be a reference to the traditional gospel-folk song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” which appears remixed on the soundtrack for a certain scene.
Jacques Brautber’s music score, in general, is actually one of the more intriguing elements of the new movie, but the new title of “Ravage” is more aptly used with the basic gore sequences throughout the film. Dexter-Jones, who has been in her share of schlocky B-movie horrors, like Jordan Galland’s “Ava’s Possessions” (2015) and Tara Subkoff’s “#horror” (2016), fits right at home as the protagonist who has to carry essentially every scene. Film legend Bruce Dern even makes an appearance as the only big name in the cast.
“Ravage” doesn’t really bring anything new to the horror/slasher genres, but it does have enough gore for fans of these kinds of movies.